Most Americans think O.J. did it - and most don’t care much about the case anymore, an Associated Press poll found.
More than half the respondents also said the jury should get a full accounting of O.J. Simpson’s alleged history of wife abuse. The judge allowed important abuse evidence Wednesday, after the poll was completed.
Six in 10 said Simpson’s fame would work in his favor at his trial, and half said the overwhelming media attention would work against him.
The national telephone poll of 1,003 adults was taken Jan. 11-15 by ICR Survey Research Group of Media, Pa., part of AUS Consultants. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
The survey began hours after the court released prosecutors’ explosive claims that Simpson abused Nicole Brown Simpson throughout their 17-year relationship.
Fourteen percent of the respondents said the murder charges against Simpson definitely are true, 43 percent said they’re probably true, 14 percent said they probably aren’t true and 4 percent said they definitely aren’t true. Twenty-five percent said they didn’t know or wouldn’t answer.
Simpson was judged a bit more harshly by men than by women. Sixtyone percent of men and 53 percent of women said the charges definitely or probably are true.
The poll also found that interest in Simpson’s case has slid sharply.
An ABC News poll in July found that 60 percent of Americans said they were following the case very closely or somewhat closely. Only 38 percent said the same when asked the identical question in the new AP poll.
Polls by the Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press found that 48 percent of Americans followed the Simpson story “very closely” when it first broke. That proportion dropped to 30 percent in September and 25 percent in October in Times Mirror polls.
In the AP poll, only 9 percent said they are still following the case very closely.
Asked what would better serve justice, 54 percent favored full disclosure to the jury of Simpson’s alleged history of wife abuse; 35 percent said the jury should be shielded from abuse allegations that aren’t directly related to the slayings.
Women were more inclined than men to favor disclosure of abuse allegations.
On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Lance Ito ruled that several instances of violence in the Simpsons’ marriage can be presented to the jury, including Simpson’s no-contest plea to wife-beating and his 1985 baseball bat attack on her car.
Sixty-two percent of respondents said Simpson’s celebrity as a football star, actor and sports commentator was likely to work in his favor at the trial, but 50 percent said publicity about the case will hurt him.
The poll also found that Americans put faith in DNA test results as evidence in court. With no murder weapon or known witnesses to the crime, Simpson prosecutors are relying largely on scientific evidence.
Defense lawyers announced earlier this month that they wouldn’t try to keep the jury from seeing results of genetic tests on blood found at the crime scene and in Simpson’s Bronco. Instead, the defense will challenge the credibility of the results, alleging that police were sloppy in gathering and testing blood samples.
Six in 10 poll respondents said DNA results are as just as strong as fingerprint evidence.